Monday, January 3, 2011

More than $80 million needed to save children of Pakistan from starvation, disease

From Associated Press of Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD -- The UNICEF has warned that children in flood affected areas of Pakistan, who already suffer from acute respiratory infections and malnutrition, are at risk because of harsh cold weather.

An official of the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) told APP here on Sunday that the Fund needed $82.1 million to continue its life-saving and recovery programmes for children in the flood-hit areas. He said additional funds would be needed to cure children suffering from malnutrition and to stop spreading of polio among the kids.

He said the number of polio cases had risen last year i.e. 126 as compared to 89 in 2009. This was a case for concern especially as Pakistan launched several campaigns to eradicate polio. He said that poor sanitation conditions in the country posed a great threat to the children.

“Most of the people, who were displaced by the worst flood in the country’s history, have returned to their home areas. Many of them are almost destructed with no homes to shelter, no crops and food to eat and no cash. In the north, where snow has fallen, we are delivering warm clothes and food supplies to help the people. But, in the south, slow receding waters mean that over a million lives are still at risk.. The running cold wave is sharply increasing the number of respiratory infections and malnutrition among the children”, he added.

According to UNICEF one-fifth of Pakistan’s land area was ravaged by the monsoon floods that affected over 20 million people. Some 10,000 schools and rural health centres were damaged by the floods and important infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, bridges and roads was destroyed or badly damaged.

The UNICEF official said that the Fund had been providing clean water to 2.8 million people on daily basis and sanitation facilities to over 1.5 million people.

The UNICEF partnered World Health Organization and the Government of Pakistan to immunize over nine million children against measles and polio. Nutritional supplements have reached nearly 300,000 pregnant women and mothers with young babies as well as malnourished children.

Education through Temporary Learning Centres has been restored for 106,500 children and another 104,400 women and children through Child-Friendly Spaces will be protected from risks of flood-related diseases, he maintained.